2020 Nissan Qashqai SL Platinum AWD – One of the most selling Nissan along with its bigger sister, Nissan Rogue. Also called “Rogue Sport” in the United States. We also had a chance to review the 2019 Nissan Qashqai last year, and it was one of our favorite subcompact SUVs. One of the reasons why it was our favorite was, it offers a very comfortable and smooth driving experience and for its price tag, it is very hard to beat the Qashqai.
Changes for the 2020 model year
As Nissan decided to refresh the Qashqai this year, we were very excited and curious to see what the changes and improvements were compared to last year. To be honest, it was already a good package in its segment with few weak points. As long as you are okay with a slightly underpowered drivetrain, it is a very good car for daily driving. This review will be more like an update compared to our review from the last year.
See our review here: https://www.autoandroad.com/2019/08/nissan-qashqai/
So what has changed? First of all, the most significant update is the exterior design. 2020 Qashqai looks much better than the 2019 MY. Headlights, front grille, front bumper, and 19″ Alloy rims are completely different. 2019 Qashqai wasn’t looking bad, but it was kind of getting old from the exterior. Now with the updated exterior design, it looks much more modern and up-to-date. Though Nissan decided to keep the rear design exactly the same, they redesigned the taillights to make it look better.
When we get into the updated Qashqai, we see the interior is exactly the same compared to the last year. We were expecting some sort of change, as it has been on the market for several years. However, it still looks good and still can keep up with the competition. Like last year’s model, it takes many interior design elements from its a bigger sister – the Rogue. Compared to subcompact SUVs, Qashqai has a relatively wider cabin, which makes it easy to get in and out, as well as increases overall driving comfort.
Speaking of driving comfort, this is where the Qashqai shines. We are a fan of Nissan’s seat comfort, and this is no exception with the Qashqai. Cabin noises are relatively low, suspension comfort is great. It has adequate rear-seat legroom and headroom, and decent cargo space for small families. Overall exterior and interior dimensions aren’t changed compared to the last year. It still offers 22.9 cubic feet behind the rear seats, and 61.1 cubic feet when the rear seats are folded down.
Like the last year, materials used all around the interior are nice, with lots of soft-touch plastics, and leather. There are some hard plastics where you usually don’t touch, which is expected in this segment. All button layouts are very easy to use, and they have above average quality. Thankfully, Nissan still uses hard touch buttons for essential features like air conditioning or head units instead of integrating them into the infotainment system.
Engine and Powertrain
When we popped the hood, we were expecting an updated engine with more horsepower and torque, but unfortunately, it didn’t happen. It still has the same engine and transmission under the hood. We are not sure if they retuned the CVT, but it felt different than 2019, in a good way. Now it is more responsive to throttle input, and not boring compared to the CVTs from a few years ago.
Although it offers a very smooth driving experience, Qashqai is definitely not a highway cruiser and it feels underpowered especially over 100 km/h. Continuously Variable Transmission is also not helping, though it is very responsive, this engine and transmission combo is designed for city driving more than long trips. If you drive in the city most of the time, the powerband is adequate and it will get the job done.
Features and Equipment
Feature-wise, Qashqai offers a lot for the money. Our tester is the top trim, which comes with everything that is available with Qashqai. Some of them are ProPilot Assist, LED headlights, built-in Navigation system with 7.0″ touch-screen display, Push button start, Memory driver seats and mirrors, Blind Spot Monitoring, Bose Premium Sound System and so on. Although the infotainment system is not the latest version, it is very fast and there is no input lag.
So the big question is: Do we think that Nissan Qashqai is still a good alternative in this class? The answer is Yes, if you are looking for driving comfort and smoothness. It is not a big change compared to the last year, but now Qashqai looks much better and it is one of the best alternatives in the subcompact SUV segment, considering it is priced very competitively. This year, the base trim Qashqai starts at $21,598, which is a big jump compared to last year.
Pricing and Conclusion
Nissan decided to offer 7 different trims in Canada, with two different SL trims, one being the SL Platinum. The base trim comes with Manual Transmission and Front Wheel Drive. If you need All Wheel Drive and automatic transmission, the price goes up to $26,298 with the S trim. Our tester is the SL Platinum trim, which is starting at $34,098 as of August 2020.
The Qashqai remains a strong contender in the hot market of subcompact SUV’s and should be in your shortlist.
For more details and most up-to-date information, please visit http://www.nissan.ca
Article and Photos by Dan Gunay